There are a lot of Jews in New York. Approximately 13% of New York City’s population is Jewish, and it’s the largest Jewish community in the world outside of Israel, with well over a million living in the five boroughs of New York City. Jewish culture is sewn into the very fabric of the city.
Then why, you may ask, does New York Governor Andrew Cuomo single Jewish communities out for criticism so much?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Cuomo and other New York politicians — such as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio — have repeatedly criticized New York’s Orthodox Jewish community. Just this past weekend, Gov. Cuomo condemned a Hasidic synagogue in Brooklyn for “hosting a secret maskless wedding with thousands of guests.”
“It was a blatant disregard of the law. It’s illegal. It was also disrespectful to the people of New York,” said Cuomo. “The law protects everybody. It protects you, but it also protects me.” He then called for a “robust investigation.”
This isn’t the first time New York’s Orthodox Jewish community has been singled out for criticism, or targeted by “COVID-19 hot-spot lockdowns,” or even fallen victim to public areas being forcibly locked shut.
After the welds were removed, NYC officials put chains and locks back on a playground in a Jewish community.
Video shows Orthodox Jews cutting those chains so their children can play in the playground.pic.twitter.com/ycuYxgZTWn
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) June 15, 2020
Several congregations in Rockland County are even suing Gov. Cuomo and New York state, alleging a “streak of anti-Semitic discrimination.” Cuomo has also personally singled out the “Orthodox Jewish community in New York” for criticism.
NY Gov. Cuomo: "We're now having issues in the Orthodox Jewish community in New York — where because of their religious practices, etc. we're seeing a spread." pic.twitter.com/T0nKcV9G1e
— The Hill (@thehill) October 14, 2020
While refusing to apologize for such accusations in late October, Gov. Cuomo actually hit the discriminatory nail on its anti-Semitic head:
“In the same way I’m sorry to the Catholic community and Muslim community and to all New Yorkers. I’m sorry that we are going through this. I’m sorry that people are dying. I’m sorry the state has to impose disruptions on your life. I’m sorry that we had to close your businesses which may mean you lose your business.”
The issue is not whether the behavior of some in the Orthodox Jewish community is worthy of criticism, or even whether some decisions are not themselves dangerous. After all, even the most ardent COVID-sceptic would likely agree that large gatherings of thousands of maskless people is far from ideal when it comes to fighting community spread.
The issue is that Gov. Cuomo and other Democratic politicians are simply not telling the truth about their supposed consistency in criticizing communities. While Cuomo may prefix his false apology with “in the same way I’m sorry to the Catholic community and Muslim community,” we should ask whether such feelings of regret are partnered with the same levels of criticism.
Unsurprisingly, they are not. Whether you think criticism is warranted, it is undeniable that the New York state and local government has repeatedly singled out the Jewish community. Not only have Christian and Muslim events been permitted to occur without anywhere near the same level of public or media condemnation — sometimes even receiving none at all — why has the same virulent “concern” not been attributed to mass Black Lives Matter marches, or LGBT parades on the streets of New York?
The reason is simple. It’s unlikely that Gov. Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and other Democrats who aren’t hellbent on other “red flag” pursuits (such as the destruction of Israel) actually hate Jews. Instead, the Jewish community — specifically the Orthodox Jewish community — is a safe group to criticize. They will never dare criticize Muslim events, black events, or gay events, lest they be torn apart by the radical base of the Democratic Party. The Orthodox Jewish community provides them with the perfect scapegoat of responsibility, allowing them to be seen to “care” about the issue of COVID-19 while keeping their jobs safe.
While the motivations may differ, this is effectively a continuation of the centuries-old expectation that there is one standard for Jews and another for everyone else. If Orthodox Jews in New York voted Democrat, would Cuomo think twice before using them to distract others from his disastrous COVID-19 leadership?
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.